In our jobs, we often count the number of storytimes, programs, and books checked out to kids, but we donít have a good way to count the impact we have on their lives. We know that we can have a significant positive impact on kidsí lives, but how do we measure and show that impact?
The positive impact libraries have will create positive behaviors in kids lives. They succeed in school, they maintain good health, they exhibit leadership, they avoid dangerous situations, and they overcome adversity in their lives.
Getting to know your younger patrons is key in building a relationship that will allow you to have this impact on kidsí lives. You can do this by engaging them in reference or readerís advisory interviews, encouraging them to volunteer at the library and giving them a challenge, or by just talking to them as they visit your library after school or with their parents.
The welcoming behaviors that we will talk about in the section on model reference behaviors are especially key for kids and teens Ė smiling as they walk in the door, greeting them by name, and maintaining your calm in the face of their wild lives will help build that positive relationship.
Kids are customers, just like adults, and need all the services we can provide.
Kids become adults, and taxpayers, very quickly. Libraries can take advantage of their natural curiosity and love of reading to build strong patrons for the future.
Involve kids in your discussions about planning for library services. Try ideas that interest them and you may be pleasantly surprised to see that not only do they have good, exciting ideas, but also they are interested in helping you carry them out. Youth involvement with you and your library is critical to your success and their success.
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